Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, a former Electoral Commissioner, has called for collaboration between the Electoral Commission and the Judiciary for continuous electoral education for judges.
Speaking at a public lecture to mark this year’s Constitution Day, Dr Afari-Gyan noted that some judges had insufficient knowledge on electoral issues resulting in an “unsound” election judgement.
“A judge once confessed to me that he did not understand an election issue; he gave a judgement that was publicly rejected,” he said.
Free and fair elections, Afari-Gyan stressed, were essential for good governance and democratic consolidation, saying: “There can be no election if there are no candidates, and there cannot be democracy if there are no voters.”
Focusing on elections, he said all people connected to electoral breaches should be punished to deter others and suggested that election petitioners, who failed in court also be punished.
Dr Afari-Gyan urged political parties to get involved in the Inter-Party Advisory Committee for effective discussions on electoral matters, but they should know that the Commission was not obliged to accept decisions from them.
“The Electoral Commission Chair is better placed to protect the rights of the citizens. Our election structure is durable with the support of political parties,” he said.
He urged the Electoral Commission to make solid preparations from voter processes, collation, to the declaration of results ahead of the December polls and advised it to set up regional collation centres to ensure transparency.
He expressed concern about the increasing rate of electoral violence and asked the security agencies to deal with perpetrators of such atrocities.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Member of Parliament for Essikado Ketan, said democracy was the best form of government to ensure smooth transition of power.
On constitution review, he said the country needed to hasten slowly and engage in dispassionate conversations for better reforms.
He was of the view that chiefs should be included in the local governance system and condemned state-sponsored electoral violence.
Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, a former Minister of Attorney General, supported the call for constitutional review.
She expressed worry about perceived dented image of the Electoral Commission and urged the Commission to work towards winning the trust of all.